Hagan, Kalitta Cooking With NHRA Nitro

Line, Krawiec win in Pro Stock and Motorcycle in Atlanta

bySteve Cole Smith|
Hagan, Kalitta Cooking With NHRA Nitro

For the past five NHRA events, at least one female racer made it to victory lane, but Sunday at Atlanta Dragway, competition at the Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals was back to being the boys’ club.

In Top Fuel, Doug Kalitta took his second race in a row. Matt Hagan (Funny Car, in photo above), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also winners in the seventh event of 24 on the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Kalitta drove his Mac Tools dragster to a 3.801-second pass at 323.19 mph to defeat Kalitta Motorsports teammate J.R. Todd’s 3.780 at 320.66. The margin of victory between Kalitta and Todd was .0000, making it the closest Top Fuel race in NHRA history.

“I really didn’t think I had won,” said Kalitta, the Top Fuel points leader. “The last couple of rounds I didn’t see the win light on the wall. J.R. went blowing by me at the end there and I got around the corner and I was very relieved, to say the least.  Jim (Oberhofer, crew chief) and my Mac Tools guys have been busting their butts all day long and we were hungry to do well in front of the sellout crowd here in Atlanta.”

In Funny Car, Hagan took his first victory of 2016 with a 3.965 at 314.90 in his Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger R/T, beating Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman in the final.

In Pro Stock, Jason Line drove his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro to a 6.611 at 209.75 in the final round to better teammate Greg Anderson on a holeshot. This is Line’s fourth victory of 2016 and 41st in his career.

Krawiec rode his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to a 6.824 at 196.66 to outlast Jerry Savoie’s 6.851 at 195.79 on his White Alligator Racing Suzuki in the Pro Stock Motorcycle final. This is Krawiec’s second victory of 2016, 33rd of his career and fourth at Atlanta Dragway. He has raced in all three Pro Stock Motorcycle event finals this season and has control of the Pro Stock Motorcycle points lead. Krawiec raced to his first career victory at the NHRA Southern Nationals in 2009.

“Atlanta has treated me well,” said Krawiec, a three-time world champ. “I got my first win here and it’s one of those things where if you just feel comfortable and you’re in a groove, you’ll have confidence. For me, I think all of that has fallen into place. The track was a little tricky for us but we were able to figure out our chassis set up and as we made more laps throughout the weekend it got better and better. It was definitely a good, exciting, fun weekend for me.”

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues in Topeka, Kan., May 20-22, with the NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.